Tag: Cultural Travel

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In Molokai, The Difference Between Being a Tourist and a Guest

April 6, 2015 at 7:11 PM | by | ()

What does it mean to be a guest versus a tourist? The difference became clear to me during a recent trip to Moloka’i. During my five day stay in this oft overlooked Hawaiian island, I had the opportunity to visit Hālawa Valley. In ancient times, it was estimated that 5,000 people lived in what’s said to be the oldest settlement in the state of Hawaii.

Hālawa Valley’s cultural leader, Anakala Pilipo Solatario, was chosen at the age of five (!!!) to carry on the legacy of his people and heritage. Now 75 years old, he’s the last living Hawaiian descendant that was born, raised and still lives in Hālawa Valley.

When you visit Hālawa Valley, visitors are encouraged to follow proper cultural protocol. Protocol is an offering, in this case, asking for permission to enter private, sacred land.

We wrapped our offerings in ti leafs, first removing the spine to create a more flexible surface. My gift was salmon jerky, an item reflective of my home in the Pacific Northwest.

After a greeting and overview of Hālawa Valley from both Anakala and his son, Greg Kawaimaka Solatario (the second youngest of five children), we were led a short distance to Anakala’s house for protocol. As we lined up, songs were sung in Hawaiian with the utmost of reverence. One by one, we walked up to Anakala and placed our offering on a nearby stone. Then, we pressed our noses together and inhaled to exchange hā, the breath of life. We were then granted permission to continue on the cultural hike of the valley.

From that moment, that strange unspoken exchange of spiritual power, I no longer felt like a visitor. Instead, I felt like a welcomed guest and part of the Solatario family. It’s hard to describe the inclusiveness this ritual provided, but I felt similar warmth in all of my interactions across Molokai. People were welcoming, in an authentic, we genuinely hope to see you again kind of way. Never did I feel like I was a one hit wonder tourist passing through any shop, attraction or restaurant. I think Greg summed it up best during his talk:

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The Perfect Museum for Passing a Rainy Day in Honolulu, Hawaii

Where: 1525 Bernice St [map], Honolulu, Hawaii, United States, 96817
September 29, 2014 at 2:40 PM | by | ()

As far as the numbers go, Waikiki is the most popular landing place for tourists visiting the Hawaiian Islands. People flock to the infamous beach for its relatively calm surf, happening hotels, high-end shops, food scene, and nightlife. However, despite these attractive amenities, it without question provides the least authentic look into actual Hawaiian culture as compared to other destinations throughout the state. All of it, including the grains of sand themselves, have been brought in to create what you see today.

But that doesn’t mean a trip to Waikiki has to be shallow, as one of the island’s premier collections of Hawaiian history and culture sits down the road at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Regardless of whether you crave to learn more about the locals or just want to feel like you left Hawaii with more than a gut full of Mai Tais, this is indeed the place to pencil in a half day of exploration and reflection.

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New Zealand is So Friendly, Even the Airport Says Goodbye

August 22, 2013 at 9:47 AM | by | ()

On the way out of New Zealand it was a little hard to say goodbye. After all we saw the coolest McDonald’s in the world—kidding—there was a lot more to see and to do than just foreign fast food. Anyway, leaving a country, state, or city is always a little tricky, as you usually want to enjoy every last moment. Thankfully the Kiwis know how to say goodbye, as there’s a little bit of New Zealand to wish you farewell right at the airport.

For the most part you’re probably heading out through Auckland, and the city’s airport wishes travelers a final farewell with a pretty snazzy indoor tree right in the Auckland Airport. The thing is known as Pou Manawa, and you can think of it a giant projection screen—in tree form—dedicated to all things New Zealand.

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Cultural Immersion and Volunteer Vacationing is Possible Without Even Leaving the US

December 26, 2012 at 3:38 PM | by | ()

Think you can't have a culturally rich volunteer experience in the US? Think again. Global Citizens Network's 2013 schedule includes trips to Washington and Minnesota that match volunteers with local Native American tribes and provide an opportunity to not only give back, but also learn about their unique cultures.

The White Earth Reservation, located in Becker, Clearwater, and Mahnomen counties in north-central Minnesota, welcomes volunteers in partnership with the White Earth Land Recovery Project/Native Harvest. GCN participants will work on various projects, including cultural initiatives with the youth group and refurbishing/painting community buildings, while visiting the Reservation.

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As the Clocks Go Back This Weekend, Miami Will Party for 13 Hours

November 1, 2011 at 11:20 AM | by | ()

Staying up all night in Miami is not novel, but this weekend's Sleepless Night Miami Beach means you can do more than just hit the clubs and eat dodgy pizza between midnight and 6 a.m.

The insomniac's dream cultural festival kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday November 5 and runs through the next morning, culminating in a beachfront sunrise breakfast from Whole Foods.

The event was held in 2007 and 2009 but this year Sleepless Night coincides with the weekend when we turn our clocks back—meaning you can party for one sneaky additional hour.

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Five Places You Must Visit in Vienna

Where: Vienna, Austria
March 18, 2009 at 2:31 PM | by | ()

All this week, Carolyn Banfalvi will be taking us on a eat-and-drink tour of Vienna, Austria. If you have any questions or suggestions for Vienna Travel, let us know and we'll have Carolyn get back to you. Enjoy.

If it were up to me, I’d spend my days checking out the coffee houses, and my nights exploring the wine bars. But Vienna is so full of art museums, grand palaces, well-kept parks, galleries, and theaters, that you have to check out at least the biggies.

You could occupy days just wandering the winding streets of the inner city, where all roads seem to lead to the spectacular Stephansdom--the cathedral which is essentially the city’s focal point. And there’s always that other form of culture for which Vienna is so famous: music.

Here are Five of Vienna's Top Attractions, each of which could easily occupy an entire day, (or more).

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Mexico City Will Eat Cake, 22,000 Pounds Of It

January 6, 2009 at 3:30 PM | by | ()

Happy Three Kings Day! Spanish-speaking countries all over the world celebrate the appearance of the Magi at the manger today, and nowhere is the party bigger than in Mexico City, which baked an 22,000-pound cake for the event.

The Rosca de Reyes, a sweet bread studded with candied fruit, measures nearly a mile long and contains 1,400 plastic babies akin to those found in King Cakes for Mardi Gras. (But you don't want to find this baby because then you have to throw a party for all your friends on February 2.)

Catch up with the festivities in Mexico City now by heading down the Paseo de la Reforma to the Monumento a la Revolución, a Porfirio Diaz-era structure where the Tres Reyes party moved in 2005 from the Parque Alameda Central. The parade, a relatively new addition to the celebration (dating back to just 2007) looks a lot like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, except for the dudes on camel-, elephant- and horseback. They're the kings of course.

Related Stories:
· Massive 11-Tonne Bread Readied for Traditional Mexico Party [AFP, via Yahoo!]
· Three Kings Ride Through Mexico City for First Time [EFE]
· Mexico City Travel coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Remi.B]